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How Sleep Apnea Affects Depression and Anxiety

If you have sleep apnea, you may have heard of, or even noticed, many side effects of this illness. Sleep apnea can take a negative toll on the entire body, causing or worsening not just labored breathing during the night, but many round-the-clock problems like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been found to contribute to mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

Recently, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine Sleep Center decided to research the relationship between depression, anxiety, and sleep apnea, by measuring the severity of these illnesses in relation to the severity of patients’ sleep apnea. What they found may surprise you.

Testing 45 subjects who underwent sleep evaluations, the researchers also surveyed the patients to see if they suffered from anxiety or depression. Of the 45 patients surveyed, 28 were confirmed to have anxiety, while 29 were found to suffer from depression.

While these numbers are close, researchers determined that despite the high level of patients with anxiety, the anxiety was inversely related to the severity of the patients’ sleep apnea, while depression was found to worsen with the severity of sleep apnea.

So, what does this mean exactly? According to the study, it means that patients who suffer from anxiety should still be screened for sleep apnea, but could potentially have less severe sleep apnea than those with depression.

As for what that means for you, suffering from anxiety could be a key to getting tested for sleep apnea. If you already suffer from sleep apnea or would like to be evaluated, speak to Dr. Peterson about your options. He offers sleep orthotics which can help alleviate your apnea symptoms and can help get you back to feeling like yourself again.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, treatment for sleep apnea may help, however, it is recommended that you seek help from a trained counselor in conjunction with your sleep apnea treatment.

To learn more about the sleep apnea solutions from Dr. Peterson, please contact the office for a consultation today.

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